According to a new report on Daily Telegraph, Nigerian Islamists who kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls are seeking a prisoner swap for jailed comrades.
Shehu Sani, who has previously brokered face-to-face peace talks with Boko Haram, told DT that he believed the video in which Boko Haram’s leader threatened to sell the girls as “slaves” was proof that it planned to use them as bargaining chips rather than kill them. The video released earlier this week showed Abubakar Shekau gloating that he would sell the captives “in the market” to anyone wishing to take them as wives.
But while the broadcast appalled the captives’ families and provoked worldwide outrage, Mr Sani
saw it as a veiled attempt to reach out for a trade with the Nigerian government.
Mr Sani said:
From my knowledge of the group, to have him saying that he will sell them is proof that this issue can be resolved.
If you look at the fact that these girls have already been in captivity for some three weeks, then it is possible to detect a conciliatory tone in this statement from Shekau – he is not saying he is going to kill the girls. The group is most likely to want to attach some kind of conditions to the girls being released, such as the freeing of some of their own prisoners.”